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Enriching your vocabulary

February 12th, 2011 by GujaratiLexicon Team | No Comments »

The lowly ‘chaddi’ has asserted itself by entering the English lexicon. If it enters the French language it may become a fashion statement!

Most of English is French badly pronounced, said a wisecrack. But he was not far from the truth. Historical influences between nations have led to words slipping from one language to another so smoothly, that one forgets the origins. It is as absurd to fight for the purity of language as it is to fight for the purity of races.


From the Indian wilderness, the Britishers carried the ‘cheetah’ and the ‘mongoose’ into their animal list

Take the word ‘tennis’ in English for example. It comes from the word ‘tenez’ in French which means to catch. It crossed the channel, went to England, became ‘tennis’ and tried to get back into the French vocabulary only to meet with the famous French resistance as it was considered an English word!

The word ‘shampooing’ in French has come from English. But actually, it comes from Hindi ‘champna’ or ‘champi’ which is a head massage. You could probably trace a different route for example with the English word ‘button’ being used in Hindi comes originally from the French ‘bouton’.

There are several interesting words from Indian languages that have entrenched themselves into the English language and one uses them without realising. The British Raj left its colonial arcades in India but took ‘bungalow’, ‘verandah’, ‘bazaar’ and ‘jungle’ with it to the English countryside and from the Indian wilderness carried the ‘cheetah’ and the ‘mongoose’ into its animal lists.

Indian cuisine tickled the palate of the English language with ‘kebab’, ‘curry’, and ‘chutney’ and spiced up the bland English cuisine! And in French (pronounced quree), it is a generic term for Indian masala.

From the indigenous homegrown ‘khichdi’ was born the word ‘kitsch’ that from a sense of mixture of diverse ingredients went on to mean bad taste in the arts, sometimes achieved deliberately for fun. Again, this word exists in both English and French.

Indian words dressed up English language with ‘bangle’, ‘bandana’ and the ‘purdah’. If you want to be posh, you can wear your ‘cummerbund’ and your ‘jodhpurs’. But even ‘pyjama’ comes from Hindustani and originally meant a garment for the foot. The same word exists in French! Now the lowly ‘chaddi’ too has asserted itself by entering the English lexicon. If it enters the French language it may become a fashion statement!

If Indian languages dressed up the body, can the soul be far behind? Soul-curry is the new mantra and words such as ‘guru’, ‘nirvana’, ‘dharma’, ‘pundit’, ‘chakra’, ‘yoga’ and ‘avatar’ reside in the body of the English language.

Given the current scenario, the new words that will vie for entry may well be: Koda — someone who digs deep into the earth (and also into pockets) while everyone sleeps and disappears with the booty.

Kalmuddy — a new sport to be introduced in Coomonwealth games akin to ‘catch me if you can’ where the villain has to smile and smile while others try to catch him while balancing toilet paper rolls on their heads.

Araja — refers to a mythical hero who was actually several zeroes. He had the ‘license to bill’ which he would whip out in a very ‘tender’ way on a first-come-first served basis.

New words that cover a ‘spectrum’ of meanings are thus ‘enriching’ our ‘bankrupt’ polity, err.. sorry, vocabulary.

A school administrator in Ahmedabad and a parliamentarian back home in France, Pascal Chazot gives you the inside-outside view on life in the city

Source : http://www.ahmedabadmirror.com/article/60/20110212201102120248138092256b9f6/Enriching-your-vocabulary.html

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